Detection of presymptomatic Alzheimer's disease through breath biomarkers

Shadi Emam, Mehdi Nasrollahpour, Bradley Colarusso, Xuezhu Cai, Simone Grant, Praveen Kulkarni, Adam Ekenseair, Codi4 Gharagouzloo, Craig F. Ferris, Nian Xiang Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Introduction: Novel sensors were developed to detect exhaled volatile organic compounds to aid in the diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment associated with early stage Alzheimer's disease (AD). The sensors were sensitive to a rat model that combined the human apolipoprotein E (APOE)4 gene with aging and the Western diet. Methods: Gas sensors fabricated from molecularly imprinted polymer-graphene were engineered to react with alkanes and small fatty acids associated with lipid peroxidation. With a detection sensitivity in parts per trillion the sensors were tested against the breath of wild-type and APOE4 male rats. Resting state BOLD functional connectivity was used to assess hippocampal function. Results: Only APOE4 rats, and not wild-type controls, tested positive to several small hydrocarbons and presented with reduced functional coupling in hippocampal circuitry. Discussion: These results are proof-of-concept toward the development of sensors that can be used as breath detectors in the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of presymptomatic AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12088
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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